Care and Respect for All19/11/2021
Thought of the Week:
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors and the most patient of teachers.”
– Charles William Eliot –
Message From Mr Sutherland
Despite the ongoing challenges across our country and indeed the world, I sincerely believe that here at Dunston Hill, we have managed to give our children and families a school experience that is as close to “normal” as we can manage this term. We are working hard to identify and then close the understandable gaps in learning the children have, but also ensuring that that they feel safe and supported whilst here, every day. The new outdoor Early Years area is now being utilised fully, with all the elements complete and our new Sensory Garden, which complements the Dunston Retreat in school, is proving really popular after our Grand Opening last week.
I congratulate all our children for fully embracing our new Behaviour Policy in school and thank parents and carers for their support with this at home. It really is making a difference and is very much part of our school ethos of “Care and Respect for All”. I am so happy also to be spending time with our “Hot Chocolate with the Head” winners over the past couple of weeks. It is a lovely opportunity for me to get to know our children a little better and for us to have a chat about anything and everything over a mug of hot chocolate and a sprinkling of marshmallows. I am looking forward to this weekly celebration for those children who have demonstrated their behaviour has been “over and above” that week and I hope they enjoy it as much as I do.
We have now completed all our Parent Consultations after we had to delay two classes appointments earlier this term. I am sorry for any inconvenience caused but I hope that you all feel that you have had time now to find out how your child has settled in. I thank you all for your patience and understanding.
As you will see from this newsletter, Christmas is fast-approaching so please make a careful note of dates as they are finalised although we will send reminders of course. Our staff are determined to give the children the best possible Christmas and have already been working hard behind the scenes to ensure this happens. I know the children will love it!
In the meantime, stay safe and have a wonderful weekend!
Whole School Information
Christmas at Dunston Hill 2021
Our team of elves have been working hard again this year to plan a magical, festive time for all our children. After the success of last year we will once again have; lots of fun including a Winter Wonderland experience, Santa visits, Christmas jumpers, parties and Christmas lunch. Gifts and cards will still be exchanged, and all the usual magic will be here. It goes without saying that our Christmas festivities will still have to be a little different to previous years due to Covid; however, we want to ensure our children have a magical and memorable run-up to Christmas. There will be further details to follow but below are some dates for your diaries and information on what’s happening so far.
Dunston Hill’s Christmas countdown has begun, here is how you can join in the fun!
Check out our Facebook page each day from December 1st. All the children in each class are working really hard to make you smile each day in the run-up to Christmas and have some wonderful things in store – so watch this space!
On the First day of Christmas Get dressed up!
On Wednesday 1 December children are invited to come to school dressed in Christmas jumpers or dresses or festive colours- red, green or sparkle. In return, we ask for a small donation towards our Christmas raffle and fundraising later in the month. Contributions can be any new items that we can add as prizes for our raffle, things like, new smellies, chocolates, gift sets, candles, books, biscuits etc. There will be a box outside each classroom for the donations.
Each class from Reception to Year 6 will have their very own sitting for Christmas lunch during the week beginning 6 December in our school hall. On this day children who are having their Christmas lunch can come to school in their Christmas jumper with their uniform or Christmas dress.
Please see the dates below:
Christmas Lunch day classes:
Monday 6 December – Reception, Year 1, Year 5 and Year 6
Tuesday 7 December – Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4
Each class will get their own session in our Winter Wonderland with Mrs Cox and Miss O’Hara and their class team. On this day the children will need to come to school dressed in warm clothes with a coat and wellies or boots. We would also advise a hat and gloves as they will be outside in our Forest School. We have lots planned to do from Christmas crafts, a special visitor and yummy hot chocolate and toatsing marshmallows to warm us up.
The dates for Winterwomderland are:
Tuesday 7 December – Year 1 and Year 4
Wednesday 8 December – Year 3 and Year 5
Thursday 9 December – Year 2 and Year 6
Friday 10 December – Nursery and Reception
Christmas Party Day
This year our children will have a Christmas party day. On this day they will have a Christmas movie, party games, dancing and fun. We are asking children to come to school dressed in their party clothes for the day. Mr Sutherland had a word with Santa, and it has been agreed that our school will be providing a party lunch for all the children on this day. So packed lunches or dinner money will not be needed on this day. Rest assured, Santa will be adhering to all Covid guidance and social distancing.
Party day classes:
Monday 13 December Nursery and Reception
Tuesday 14 December Year 1 and Year 2
Wednesday 15 December Year 3 and Year 4
Thursday 16 December Year 5 and Year 6
Remember to wear your party clothes to come to school!
Children are welcome to bring in Christmas cards from Monday 6 December – Tuesday 14 December. We ask that children post their class cards in their classroom post-box. If they have cards for other children or staff in the school, we will have a post-box outside the main entrance to pop them in on your way past.
Community Christmas Wishing Tree
Look out for our school Christmas Wishing Tree. The children will be writing wishes and adding their own decorations. It would be lovely if families made decorations and wishes at home too to add to our tree. The tree will be outside our main entrance to the school, please come and add to it.
Christmas Grand Raffle Coffee Morning
It has been a long-standing tradition at Dunston Hill to have our Christmas coffee morning, play some bingo and games and draw our grand raffle. We still want this to go ahead, so we are asking you to save the date; Thursday 16 December, grab your own coffee and a mince pie and join us on Facebook Live for a virtual coffee morning and grand raffle draw. We have lots of fantastic prizes again this year including a £100 Amazon voucher amongst other things. Raffle tickets will be coming home soon!
Reverse Advent Calendar
Our generous staff have once again chosen to do a reverse advent calendar, this year we will be sending donations to Dunston Help for Families. This involves buying an item a day through advent that will be donated to families that need them.
What a week of kindness Dunston Hill have had! Miss Bunce and Miss Ornsby loved leading the assembly on Monday to kick start our Anti-Bullying Week. It was lovely to hear from lots of children sharing their ideas and thoughts about kindness. From random acts of kindness to anonymous kindness posters, it has been wonderful to see how important kindness is in our school.
In KS1, Year 1 enjoyed celebrating how they are all unique by creating a certificate for another member of the class, sharing why their friend is special to them. In LKS2, Year 4 created posters for their peers and shared traits they admired about each other before hand-delivering them to their chosen friend!
News from Upper Key Stage 2…
What a great start we have had to the second half of the Autumn Term, with lots to look forward to as the festive season approaches. In Year 5 we have begun our ‘Story Time with a special guest’ which saw Mr Armstrong (one of our SCITT trainees) read us from one of his favourite Roald Dahl books. In the weeks to come, we will have many other special guests join us including a special visitor from Kingsmeadow – we can’t wait! We have also loved starting our new Geography Topic on the Amazon rainforest – we would be happy to share our newfound knowledge with you! In Year 6, we have had the privilege of hosting our three SCITT trainees on their first placement, it was great to see the children showing our school rules of: Ready, Respect and Kind to the new faces in their classrooms. We loved reading Poppy Field’s with them, developing our position and direction knowledge in Maths and some of us were even lucky enough to do some special one-to-one reading. We wish Mr Armstrong, Miss Crombie and Mr Wilson luck as they continue their placement in school.
Lower Key Stage 2
Over the last few weeks, Year Three have been working hard to develop their sketching skills in art. We have focused on the work of Frida Khalo, an artist famous for her many portraits. During our sessions, the children have looked carefully at the proportions of their faces and their facial features, before then drawing their own self-portraits. Take a look at some of the photos and watch out for more on our school website.
The Year 4 children have been working extremely hard on their play scripts, featuring a court case with the characters from Rumpelstiltskin. We have also enjoyed acting out different characters and following the stage directions, our friends have written for the characters, throughout this unit. Some scriptwriters in the making!
We have had another busy month with lots of sporting events.
Just before the half-term, the children in Year 2 attended the space-themed ‘KS1 Indoor Athletics Festival’ at Gateshead Stadium. They jumped, hopped and worked their way through obstacles to get to the moon. Everyone had a great time and the children walked away with a certificate.
In addition, our mixed Year 5/6 Athletics team had an amazing afternoon at Gateshead Leisure Centre competing in an indoor athletics competition. Each and every one of the children tried their absolute hardest and their behaviour was exemplary. Throughout a range of track and field events such as relays, obstacle races, long jumps, triple jumps and many more, Team Dunston Hill amassed an incredible 288 points, earning them second place and more importantly a position in the final! We are incredibly proud of the boys and girls and cannot wait to return to the final in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, several children from Year 5 and 6 attended the ‘Bee Netball’ competition. The children put their acquired skills into practise and worked together as a team during the different matches, and as a result they scored a fantastic 12 points, which meant we finished in 2nd place. We have made it through to the finals which will take place next month. Well done team DH, we are super proud of you!
Some of our children have really enjoyed helping Mrs Cox to re-design our Hideout – this is another safe, calm space where our wonderful children can spend time with Mrs Cox talking about feelings, emotions, friendships and behaviours. Lunchtimes in the Dunston Den and in Forest School are just delightful (just how we like it – full of fun and laughter).
Please note: our SEND Policy and SEND Information Report have been updated on our school website. Miss Tuart is also in the process of re-designing the SEND and Nurture area of our website so watch this space!
Don’t forget, the Gateshead Local Offer website has a wealth of information about services and support, and advice and guidance for parents/carers.
Should you wish to, you can contact Miss Tuart (SENDCo and Inclusion Manager) by telephone or email with any queries you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org
Likewise, you can contact Mrs Cox (Family Support Worker) by telephone for any support, advice or queries.